The government of Northern Ireland has agreed the terms of a deal with the developers of a retail-led, mixed-use scheme known as the Royal Exchange.

The Royal Exchange in Belfast, a consortium comprising William Ewart Properties, ING Real Estate and Snoddons Construction, has agreed with the Department for Social Development, subject to final conditions.

The scheme will cover 800,000 sq ft (74,320 sq m) in Belfast city centre, with 420,000 sq ft (39,020 sq m) of retail space. It will include a department store alongside other anchors and a 700-space car park. It will span from Belfast’s prime retail pitch, Royal Avenue, to the city’s cultural and entertainment hub, Cathedral Quarter, linking through to Victoria Square.

ING Real Estate development director Andrew Eldridge said: “Belfast is a rising European regional capital and we believe strongly in its potential. Our aim is to deliver a high-quality scheme to attract major new retail names that are complementary to the existing retail offer in Belfast.”

Construction on the scheme is likely to start in 2010, for completion in 2013.
Belfast’s other large-scale retail development, Multi Development’s Victoria Square, is set for completion next month.

The£400 million Victoria Square development includes 800,000 sq ft (74,320 sq m) of retail space over three floors. The scheme is anchored by House of Fraser and has also signed retailers such as Reiss, All Saints, Ted Baker, Urban Outfitters and Habitat.